Dent is working with Democrats to attempt to get the two sides closer to a deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Late into the second week of the government shutdown, factions of House Democrats and Republicans were planting their flags all over Capitol Hill, holding noisy news conferences and staging elaborate demonstrations.
Drowned out from the warring rhetoric, however, were members of what Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., recently called “the political endangered species of Washington, D.C.”
He was talking about moderates, the members of both parties who have been squeezed from the negotiating tables since the 2010 election cycle, which shifted Republicans farther to the right and wiped out the once-prominent contingent of centrist Democrats.
The result, Costa and others agree, has been the breakdown of bipartisanship — a virtue extolled by Democrats and Republicans alike, but one that is difficult to achieve in such a partisan political environment.
It doesn’t mean lawmakers aren’t trying, especially after finding themselves in the midst of government shutdown and looming default.
New Democrat Coalition Chairman Ron Kind of Wisconsin and leading GOP moderate Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania rallied roughly 35 Democrats and Republicans around a proposal to pass a six-month continuing resolution at sequester levels while repealing the medical device tax created by the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
The fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition released a statement Wednesday calling on Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to “attack our nation’s larger debt and deficit problems head on.” Full story